2017 Iranian presidential election

← 2013 19 May 2017 2021 →
Opinion polls
Turnout73.33% (Increase 0.62pp)
Nominee Hassan Rouhani Ebrahim Raisi
Popular vote 23,636,652 15,835,794
Percentage 58.85% 39.43%

President before election

Hassan Rouhani

Elected President

Hassan Rouhani

Presidential elections were held in Iran on 19 May 2017, the twelfth such elections in Iran. Local elections were held simultaneously.

Candidate registration took place from 11 to 15 April 2017. Incumbent president Hassan Rouhani was eligible to run for re-election. His rivals were the conservatives' top candidate Ebrahim Raisi, the Islamic Coalition Party's Mostafa Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba who ran with no partisan support.[1]

Rouhani was re-elected for a second term. According to results announced by the Interior Ministry, Rouhani received 59% of the vote, while his closest rival Ebrahim Raisi received 39%. Rouhani was re-inaugurated on 5 August 2017 taking the oath of office for the second time at the Parliament of Iran.

Electoral system

See also: President of Iran

The president of Iran is elected using the two-round system. To win in the first round, a candidate must receive more than 50% of all votes cast (both valid and invalid).[2]


Any Iranian citizen above 18 years of age was able to register as a presidential candidate. An institution called the Election Monitoring Agency (EMA) and managed by the Guardian Council vets registered candidates and approves a handful to run in the election. The Guardian Council does not publicly announce the reason a particular candidate is rejected, although those reasons are explained to each candidate. Women who register as candidates have invariably been excluded from standing for election by the Council.[3][4]


According to the official dates announced on 1 April 2017 by the Ministry of Interior:[5]


Registration and vetting process

For a list of candidates disqualified, see List of candidates in the Iranian presidential election, 2017.

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who endorsed his protégé, and former vice president Hamid Baghaei, registered as a candidate along with him.

During the five days period, a total of 1,636 individuals put their name to run for president, an increase over the 686 candidates in the previous election in 2013. Among the candidates was a record number of 137 women.[6] Hundreds of the applicants were ordinary people with no political background[7] and clearly lacked the criteria cited in the article 115 of the constitution, which is being considered among "religious and political rejal" ("men" or "personalities", according to different interpretations).[8] Many criticized the law, which allows almost anyone to register to run.[6] Some intended to gain public attention, including political prisoners Mehdi Khazali and former MP Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi,a millionaire property developer applied from Australia Alireza Ahmadian[9] and some women tried to challenge the judicial interpretation of word rejal as "men", most notably Azam Taleghani.[6][9]

On 20 April 2017 the Guardian Council announced a list of 6 approved candidates. The list contains incumbent president Hassan Rouhani, incumbent vice president Eshaq Jahangiri, Astan Quds Razavi custodian Ebrahim Raisi, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mostafa Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba.[citation needed]

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his vice president Hamid Baghaei were disqualified.[10] Ahmadinejad, who was advised by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei not to run for the election,[11] wrote a letter in September 2016 to him, pledging that he would not run.[12] On 11 February 2017, he officially declared that he would not back any candidate, however, in a video released on 19 March 2017 he announced his support for Hamid Baghaei[13] and surprised observers by himself registering to run.[14]

Mohammad Gharazi was also among those disqualified, despite being approved as a candidate in 2013.[15]

Approved candidates

Candidate Party affiliation Previous offices
Executive Legislative Judicial Military/Security
President (2013-2021)
Caretaker Commander of the Shahrbani (1980–1981)


In his statement, Ghalibaf accused current president Hassan Rouhani of financial mismanagement and asserted that he and his supporters were "revolutionary opportunists."[17] The statement read:

The fight against pseudo-revolutionary opportunists has become highly costly, because this current is gnawing at the roots of the Revolution like a termite...[They] are not only at odds with the intellectual fundaments of original revolutionaries, but also represent a current whose material interests are at risk.[18]

Candidate Party affiliation Previous offices Endorsed
Executive Lawmaking Judicial Military/Security
MP (1984–1992)
Mayor of Tehran (2005-2017)


See also: Hassan Rouhani 2017 presidential campaign, Ebrahim Raisi 2017 presidential campaign, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf 2017 presidential campaign, Mostafa Mir-Salim 2017 presidential campaign, and Mostafa Hashemitaba 2017 presidential campaign

Debates and TV programs

Main article: 2017 Iranian presidential election debates

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) provides each candidate with 210 minutes for campaign talks on TV,[20] and there would be three debate sessions on politics, economics, and social pressing issues aired on Channel 1.[21] On 20 April 2017, Election Campaign Monitoring Commission announced that there would be no live debates and it will broadcast prerecorded,[22] however, after vast criticism from candidates and Iranian people the commission revoked its decision two days later.[23] Candidates are scheduled to air dedicated programmes on IRIB TV channels and radio stations, 555 minutes for each per candidate, and a sum of 1,470 minutes including the debates.[24]

Campaigning platforms and techniques

The election was characterised for usage of populist practices[25][26] and mudslinging.[27] The conservatives launched smear campaigns against the reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani,[1][25] while he initially refrained from campaigning in this way. Rouhani later changed strategy by simply attacking his rivals[28] and the incumbent administration used fearmongering tactics to encourage people to vote.[29]

Role of social media

Social media was traditionally a tool for the reformists to campaign, but the presence of conservatives during the election was unprecedented in Iranian political history.[30]

Third Iranian debate, 2017 election

Telegram instant messaging service, the most widely used messaging application in Iran, reportedly has more than 45 million users in a country of nearly 80 million as of April 2016.[31] It serves as a platform for Iranians to express their political opinions[32] and played an important role in the campaigns for the elections held in 2016 for Parliament and Assembly of Experts.[33] Twitter is blocked in Iran, however, Iranians use proxies to tweet and those that create a buzz, then travel to Telegram channels, where "they can potentially reach a much wider audience" according to BBC.[34]

Two months before election, Iranian Judiciary arrested some pro-Hassan Rouhani Telegram channel administrators for “crimes against public morals and publishing obscenity”.[31]

The campaigners also heavily used Instagram[34] and its feature of airing live videos to stream real-time campaign developments.[35]

Tactical nomination of Jahangiri

Rouhani and I are side-by-side.

President Rouhani's ally and first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri stood in the election to support him during the campaign and in TV debates,[37] being called as a ‘fender’ or ‘cover candidate’ by Iranian media,[38] who will possibly withdraw in support of the incumbent president.[39] The idea was allegedly recommended by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,[38] who was a key backer of Rouhani before his death in January 2017.[37] Another reason cited for the nomination was to have an 'alternative candidate' in case the Guardian Council disqualified Rouhani[40] or raise his profile for a bid in 2021 election.[36]

Jahangiri withdrew in favor of Rouhani on 16 May 2017.[citation needed]

Hashemitaba's endorsement of Rouhani

Candidate Mostafa Hashemitaba released a statement on 15 May 2017 and endorsed Rouhani, but refused to quit the race. He said he “will vote for the current president to help extension of this government's constructive approach.”[41]

Conservative consensus candidate

Ghalibaf appeared at Raisi's campaign rally in Tehran's Mosalla, 16 May 2017

Further information: Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces

Among the approved candidates, Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Mostafa Mir-Salim were regarded as figures of the conservative camp, which intended to bring one single candidate for the election.[42] Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces (JAMNA), the umbrella organization established to introduce one single consensus candidate for the conservatives finally endorsed both Raisi and Ghalibaf,[1] and it was unclear if any of them would drop out in favor of a fellow conservative.[43]

On 15 May 2017, Ghalibaf gave up his bid in favor of Raisi.[16]

Islamic Coalition Party released a statement on 18 May 2017, announcing it supports Raisi's bid for presidency following the withdrawal of Mostafa Mir-Salim,[44] despite the fact that Mir-Salim denied that he is withdrawing from the race.[45]

Endorsements and positions

Organization Endorsed candidate
Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces[1] Ebrahim Raisi
Front of Islamic Revolution Stability[46]
Combatant Clergy Association[46]
Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom[47]
Resistance Front of Islamic Iran[48]
Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader[49]
YEKTA Front[50]
Union of Islamic Student Societies[52]
Islamic Society of Engineers[53]
Moderation and Development Party[54] Hassan Rouhani
Association of Combatant Clerics[57]
Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers[57]
Executives of Construction Party[citation needed]
Union of Islamic Iran People Party[58]
National Trust Party[59]
Will of the Iranian Nation Party[60]
Assembly of the Forces of Imam's Line[61]
Islamic Association of University Instructors[62]
Islamic Iran Solidarity Party[63]
Democracy Party[64]
NEDA Party[65]
Workers' House[66]
Freedom Movement of Iran[67]
Kurdish United Front[68]
Iranian Call and Reform Organization[69]
Green Path of Hope[70]
National Front[71]
Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists of Iran[72]
Islamic Coalition Party[73] Mostafa Mir-Salim
Religious communities
Exiled opposition

Opinion polls

Main article: Opinion polling for the 2017 Iranian presidential election

Results of opinion polls of decided votes conducted by the Washington DC-based firm International Perspectives for Public Opinion (iPPO) between 6–17 May 2017[83]

Voter demographics

2017 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup[83]
Demographic subgroup Votes:   Rouhani  Raisi
18–45 years old
45 and older
Higher education
High school or less
Community size
Human Development Index
Economic class


See also: 2017 Iranian local elections

Voting started at 08:00 on Friday, 29 May 2017 and took place at 63,429 polling stations across Iran, as well as around 14,000 mobile ballot boxes. It involved around 1.5 million executive forces and monitors, 350,000 security forces, 70,000 inspectors, and around 100,000 representatives of local governors.[84] After a "huge rush" of citizens to vote,[85] the polling time was extended for several extra hours until midnight which is the latest possible time allowed by the law.[86]

Among the citizens eligible to vote in the election, about 2.5 million lived abroad and the elections were held in 103 countries, including the United States.[87]

Canada, which hosts at least 400,000 Iranians,[87] does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, a situation which hindered participation of Iranian citizens.[88] However, some traveled to the United States in order to vote.[89]

Allegations of foreign interference

During the elections, several Iranian analysts and officials warned of a possible foreign electoral intervention.

The head of Iran's judicial system, Sadeq Larijani, warned that Iran's enemies made a "huge investment" to undermine and exploit the elections: "The enemies may want to deal a blow to the Iranian political system during the elections".[90]

On 20 April 2017 Rustam Minnikhanov - President of Tatarstan and Vladimir Putin's envoy, met with candidate Ebrahim Raisi in Mashhad in Raisi's capacity as Head of Astan Quds Razavi. MP Alireza Rahimi questioned the meeting and asked for explanations about the reasons for it, citing alleged Russian interference in 2016 U.S. election. “The recent meeting raises the suspicion of interference in the elections, which is not appropriate”, he said.[91][92]

According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Minnikhanov also met vice president Eshaq Jahangiri in Tehran one day earlier, discussing bilateral relations.[93]


According to final results, 41,366,085 voted from a registered electorate of 56,410,234. Turnout was 73.33%. The Ministry of Interior announced results gradually after midnight (local time), after polls closed. Final results were announced on 8 June 2017.[94]

Hassan RouhaniModeration and Development Party23,636,65258.85
Ebrahim RaisiCombatant Clergy Association15,835,79439.43
Mostafa Mir-SalimIslamic Coalition Party478,2671.19
Mostafa HashemitabaExecutives of Construction Party214,4410.53
Valid votes40,165,15497.10
Invalid/blank votes1,200,9312.90
Total votes41,366,085100.00
Registered voters/turnout56,410,23473.33
Source: Ministry of Interior

Provincial votes

The table below displays the official vote tallies by province:

Provinces/districts won by Rouhani
Provinces/districts won by Raisi

International votes

The table below displays the official vote tallies by country:

Counties won by Rouhani
Counties won by Raisi

Maps and graphs



Rouhani's supporters celebrating his re-election in Valiasr Street, Tehran

Tens of thousands of supporters of President Hassan Rouhani poured into the streets of Tehran to celebrate the incumbent's re-election.[95] The Tehran Stock Exchange rallied after the election results came out, extending a recent winning streak to close almost 1% higher at its highest level in three months.[96]

On 21 May 2017, Ebrahim Raisi wrote a letter to the Guardian Council, objecting to the results.[97]






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  135. ^ "Nicaraguan President congratulates Rouhani on reelection". 22 May 2017.
  136. ^ "Omani king congratulates President Rouhani over his re-election". 21 May 2017.
  137. ^ "Qatari Emir commends Rouhani on victory in election". 22 May 2017.
  138. ^ "Putin congratulates Iran's Rouhani on re-election". 20 May 2017.
  139. ^ "Singaporean president congratulates Rouhani on his reelection". 23 May 2017.
  140. ^ "South Africa: President Zuma Congratulates Iranian President". 21 May 2017.
  141. ^ "MOFA Spokesperson's Statement on Outcome of Presidential Election in Iran". 22 May 2017.
  142. ^ "Spanish PM congratulates Rouhani on reelection". 21 May 2017.
  143. ^ Sri Lankan president congratulates Rouhani on re-election, 24 May 2017
  144. ^ "President al-Assad congratulates Rouhani on re-election as Iranian President". 20 May 2017.
  145. ^ "Tajik president congratulates Rouhani on re-election". 22 May 2017.
  146. ^ "Erdogan congratulates Iran's Rouhani over election win". 24 May 2017.
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  149. ^ "Vietnamese president congratulates Rouhani on re-election". 26 May 2017.

Media related to Iranian presidential election, 2017 at Wikimedia Commons